No More Mr. Nice Guy

You’re not doing yourself any favors by putting yourself at the end of the line behind everyone else in your life.

The reason people say that nice guys finish last is that they do. Nice guys tend not to ask for what they want and no one will ever give you anything unless you ask for it first. Assholes fair better in the world mainly because they don’t mind asking for anything and everything they want regardless of fairness or merit.

Actually, it’s not even enough to develop a voice to ask for things because more often than not, you’re going to get a ‘No’ even if you ask for what you want. But, you can’t even get to a No unless you actually do the asking in the first place. Ask and you shall receive. Not every single time, but you’ll definitely get more than the person who doesn’t even ask for anything. The more you do it, the more you’ll get in return.

Persistence is the best measure of how badly you want anything and the world will always test how much of it you possess. No one will ever give you something of high value unless you show that, one, you really care about it, and two, you will appreciate the opportunity and be its grateful custodian. A high barrier to entry is always the first obstacle you need to face on your way in.

Stop setting yourself up for failure by giving in to your senseless need to feel liked by other people. It’s usually a sign of your aversion to confrontation, and the wolves will sniff the smell of fear off of you. So what if some people don’t like you, they can go straight to hell. You shouldn’t have to carry that heavy bag on your shoulders for the rest of eternity. Life gets tremendously easier when you drop the need to appease everyone and their dog.

Stop giving way to people who are rude enough not even to ask before cutting in line because “they have only one item to pay for” at the cashier. Their time is not more important than yours. You must always begin by valuing your time more than anyone else’s. Common courtesy is fine, just as long as you understand what you’re really signaling to the world—and yourself for that matter—by your actions.

Everything you do in life is a signal to the world of what you are about, how you perceive yourself, and how you want the world to perceive you, even if you’re not aware of it.

The most important spectator is inside your own mind, that part of you that observes the world through your eyes hears it through your ears, and writes it down in the daily log for future reference. It doesn’t care if you’re the one who said that negative word or it was said to you, it will note it down either way. If you tell yourself for example: “I’m stupid.,” it will wet its quill in ink, with utter indifference, and write down under self-esteem: “Stupid.”

Don’t allow yourself to be brushed off to the side at work when there’s something that needs to be said because it wastes time, or is downright stupid. Your ideas, your opinions, and your assessments have value and are worthy of the respect of being heard.

You pay a heavy price for not showing your inner predator. Your life actually gets easier once you’ve unleashed the beast and started showing your fangs, talons, and your battle scars.

You’re the only person who sets your boundaries. People will always treat you the way you allow them. You begin demanding that people show you due respect by respecting yourself first, valuing your thoughts and opinions first, and prioritizing the wisdom you’ve gained from firsthand experience above all else.

Sometimes you’re met with the random idiot who thinks they know more than you in your field of expertise. Or perhaps you get advice from a newbie who is just scratching the surface of that subject in which you have immersed yourself and soaked to the bone. You’d be insane to even consider what they say. The only opinions that matter are from those who rub shoulders with you in the arena and who are mired in the soil, sweat, and blood of battle in the gladiatorial pit of life. Spectators do not count.

There’s an inner genius at your core who is creative and genuinely passionate about a lot of interesting things. Give it the voice it needs to speak up and let itself be heard. Express yourself regardless of what people might think of your work. Show your work with pride and indifference even if you have a way to go on the road to attain mastery. Developing a thick skin early on is extremely important especially when you know you’re not as good as you want to be.

I’ve come to believe that substantially good creative ideas are hard to come by. A plan of execution is probably an order of magnitude harder. Actually going through with the plan and solving unexpected problems on the go is harder still.

Action begets courage, courage begets practice, practice begets momentum, and momentum begets mastery.

Assert yourself at every chance and when there’s no actual advantage to it, don’t compromise. Your willpower and your assertiveness are muscles that you need to strengthen with practice, lots of reps, and heavy lifting.

Never shy away from a necessary confrontation while avoiding all the unnecessary ones. Sometimes, in moments of obvious injustice, prejudice, discrimination, or intentional repression, you find that you will need to be quite blunt, that you must stand up to, offend, and even hurt those who block your path in life.

I’m sorry to have to tell you this as well, but there will come a moment in your life when you’re going to be the one doing the shoving, the brushing off to the side, and the straight hand-to-hand combat with those who are in your way either out of outright malevolence or even pure naïveté.

You will be thought of as the bad guy—The Asshole—by some people, that much I can promise you, and this is exactly why caring what others think of you is a huge mistake.

People see the world through their own filters, based on what they know, and they will judge you based on the limitations of their perception. The Seeing shouldn’t really care about the opinions of the Blind.

I’m not telling you to go about the world punching people in the face. I’m saying pick your battles. Sometimes it’s not wise—dangerous even—to point out all the stupidity and hypocrisy, but at other times it is not only inescapable but a moral obligation and a public service.

It is absolutely imperative that you know the rules, laws, and regulations of your field, the circles where you roam, and the authorities that observe them. Your goal should always be to find the loopholes you can pass through, the flexible walls you can bend, and those fake figureheads in positions of authority that you can openly challenge.

Rules are for fools. Yes, you heard that right! Real power is the prize of those who can navigate the rules, float above them, and ultimately create them for those who don’t have the stomach to question authority. And yes, you absolutely can do that with your feet standing on solid moral standards, but that’s a subject for another time.

Your life can be infinitely different once you decide what you really want and pursue it unabashedly.

Know that along the way it will be inevitable to offend some people, step on a few toes, bend a few rules, and break some walls, and it’s quite OK.

Freedom comes at the price of being resented by those who couldn’t get it for themselves.

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